[C]HRIS MANN: Modern architecture – would you stick up for it? The authors of a new book told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire this morning they thought many new buildings in Cambridge are hideous. But are they just old fogeys? Our very own Andie Harper spoke with David Jones earlier today, and this is what he had to say.
ELLIS HALL: I’ve talked to a lot of young people, my children for example, who are in their twenties. They agree that the general environment in Cambridge is getting much more like London every day. Now they notice it, and they deplore it, because you know my daughter has worked in London, and she says that it’s a very high pressure environment, not simply because of the pace of life, but also because of the size of the buildings, because of the fact that you feel like a little ant, kind of crawling along beside them. And it makes you feel small, little, insignificant. Your built environment is like the weather. On a cloudy overcast day people are miserable. Ok? On a sunny day everybody’s happy, everybody’s talking to one another, saying hello in the street to perfect strangers and so on and so forth. Now the environment is important to us, and it’s not just us old fogeys who are alarmed at change. Although us old fogeys are alarmed at change. It’s also the fact that everybody suffers.
ANDIE HARPER: We have spoken to architects. We’re going to have one coming on. They were people who were prepared to comment, but not put their head above the glass parapet I have to say. But one said Cambridge isn’t a theme park. You can’t preserve it in aspic. You can’t keep it as it was. David?
DAVID JONES: Well the man’s an idiot if he says that. That’s not an argument. That’s a slogan that people say, you can’t keep it in aspic. Nobody’s suggesting that you should. Of course things can change. There are some excellent new buildings. Look at the Jerwood Library on the Backs, the best addition to the Backs in centuries. It’s a brilliant building. It looks as though it was always meant to be there. There are plenty of others. I’m objecting to the ugly buildings that are going up, and I’d like to know what architects think they’re doing, putting up rubbish that everybody, from a six year old, like the Emperor’s New Clothes, will point and say why is that horrible building there. Or the luckless fellow living on Cherry Hinton Road whose garden is now blotted out by the shadow of the Marque. You don’t have to be sixty or six to know that. It’s obvious. (LIVE)
CHRIS MANN: David Jones on the hideous buildings of Cambridge.